Fnatic narrowly missed qualifying for the Rift Rivals finals. The projected best team in Europe changed its style going into the event, focusing on making their the style less exploitable. Early on in the event, jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen gave Slingshot’s Kelsey Moser some insight into Fnatic’s slightly different approach.
Kelsey Moser: This (first) game was a little different from what we’ve seen from you guys in the LCS. You usually ban the Zac yourselves and go for much more aggressive jungle and lane picks. What was your mindset going into it?
Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen: We’ve been trying to play a bit different in scrims recently rather than playing the same style with me on aggressive junglers and just trying to get really far ahead early always. We tried to play a bit more scaling and actually pick up the Zac since it’s a pretty big flaw in our draft if we actually can’t play that. So we’ve been trying it out, and it has been working pretty well, so we figured it can be working pretty well for us onstage, especially since teams rarely play that aggressively and get leads. Obviously in this case, we are a bit behind, but we still had good scaling, so it was fine.
KM: Is there something about Zac in particular that was tricky for you to pick up?
MBP: It’s much different from the junglers I am playing usually. It can still pressure a bit, especially around mid early. It’s not the type of champ that I usually tend to play.
KM: I’ve also noticed that Fnatic have changed a bit in the past few weeks from doing these 1-3-1s where you’re looking to get a pick on a side lane to more of this push to river, look for flank mid — what kind of considerations started this shift?
MBP: We were having a lot of thoughts and discussions about how our style can be abused because from our perspective it’s more or less the same way we play every game, so at some point it would be abused. So we’ve been trying to work a bit on it and trying to play different styles to see how we can improve and make sure teams don’t actually figure us out and beat us because we play the same style. So we’ve just been working a bit on trying some different things out.
KM: I think the shift started with the ROCCAT loss. Would you say that’s accurate?
MBP: Yeah, I mean, obviously we think “What the Hell is going on? How can we lose?” Especially when we lose the second game in such a way. I guess it was mainly because we started losing we figure we have to change something.
KM: Looking forward a little bit, are you using Rift Rivals more as practice or are you trying to blow everyone out of the water with what you already know? (NOTE: This question was asked after Fnatic’s first game, and their approach may have changed as the tournament progressed.)
MBP: I guess it’s something kind of in between. Obviously it’s really good practice, especially for me and Caps since we’re new players. We still want to win really badly, and we want to take the whole thing if we can. It’s just that like — the main focus is not to win Rift Rivals, it’s to go to Worlds, so we’ve had some discussions about how we’re going to play and if we’re going to change our style or not. Just make sure we’re not going to do stuff that we can be punished for in LCS afterwards since obviously the seven other teams have kind of an edge when they can watch us play these games. So we’re just being a little bit careful about what we’re actually doing.
KM: It’s been a little bit since Dylan made it to Europe and slotted into the team. What kind of impact has he had on discussions and other aspects?
MBP: I think Dylan has put a lot more structure into our team overall. We have a lot more thought about draft and how we want to play the game, which mistakes we need to work on, how we want to live overall. He’s forcing people to go to the gym and eat healthy and all this kind of stuff. But I think especially when it comes to draft and watching all the other leagues and seeing what picks they play there, he’s really good at figuring out how to round out our team comps with ideas to all of us — like which champions we should consider trying out, depending on what they play in other leagues.
KM: There was a recent change to Cinderhulk. Do you think this will have a large impact on your jungle pool?
MBP: I feel like the Cinderhulk change is pretty good for tanks especially. But I don’t know if it’s enough for junglers to have to change up their pool completely. I think there’s champions that should be tried out and potentially picked up after tank junglers since they’re going to be much harder to deal with now. We’re currently still testing a bit and seeing which of them we want to use ourselves.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Raphie Rosen